Unless you’ve been lost in the Amazon rainforest for the last several years, you’ve probably heard about guest blogging and guest “experting” on podcasts and the benefits they have provided those who use them as a marketing tool. In fact, I encourage my clients to guest blog as much as possible while replacing a lot of lesser marketing tactics with it.
The first thing everyone needs to know about guest blogging is that, no matter how calm, cool, and collected a big content site looks on the outside, the people behind it are always scrambling for great content. Always.
So, if you’re dreaming about blogging on a site that you’d love to show up on, but are worried about whether you will get accepted as a guest blogger, don’t. This is the number one reason most people never apply for a guest blogging gig on sites they need to get into. And it’s a shame, because the people running these sites would like to hear from anyone willing and able to produce great, original content for them.
But if you haven’t written for an equal sized site or larger before, how are you going to impress the one you are targeting? You do it by building a strong portfolio of other places where you’ve already been published. The sum total of your work will add up to someone who is worthy of consideration on bigger, higher-traffic sites.
Start with guest posting on sites that are more accepting of outside content like Medium.com. Then search for “community blogs” or “guest post -your main keyword-” on Google to find blogs that are largely driven by guest blogger content in or related to your industry.
If the sites you find don’t necessarily focus 100% on your particular industry, find out if they at least have a category you’d fit into. The main point here is that you don’t want to fit a square peg into a round hole. There should be readers on each of the sites where you guest blog that would be ideal readers of your site. Otherwise, the only thing you get out of posting there is a link. (Not bad, but you want direct traffic along with SEO benefits from your guest posts.)
Each time you get something published, go back to your site and link to your new post from a page specifically labeled something like “Portfolio” or “Publications.” This will be the page you send editors so they can check out who has already vetted and accepted you as a guest blogger. Here’s my latest version of my “Portfolio of Authority.” Notice it includes all kinds of stuff I’ve done, be it podcasts, guest posts, and famous people I interview myself on podcasts.
Often, a few posts on respected sites, even if they are smaller than the sites you’re going after, will be enough to get accepted as a guest blogger on the bigger ones. People just want to see you’re dedicated and for real. They get a lot of junk submitted everyday and are very happy to come across a serious guest blogger application.
So, don’t fret about your preconcieved notions of how hard it is to become a guest blogger on healthy, high-traffic sites in, or related to, your market. Start your guest bogger portfolio page on your site by picking the low hanging fruit and leverage that to move onto sites that will be glad to have another serious contributor of content that they so desperately need.
“Jack is the best at ______ and you should have him help you with your ________.”
“Daniel is the guy I recommend most for ____ and ____. He really helped me a lot!”
“Trish is the best _____ coach in the business, in my opinion. I’d work with her again in a heartbeat and you should too!”
Decide the kinds of things you’d like people saying about you to their peers or friends. Write these things out. Be specific.
Set out to GET those things said about you!
Get people talking about you in the way you want your personal brand represented when you’re not in the room.
Create the body or work, yes. But get the right people saying these things publicly about you in front of their audience. That trains that audience to start talking about you in the same way, even if they haven’t bought from you or hired you.
“Well, if so-and-so says Jack’s great, that’s what I’m going to tell other people as well, because I trust their opinion implicitly.”
Look more closely at the happenings and mentions in your part of the web among experts and authorities. It’s been happening since before the Internet and from the day the internet was born.
It’s so common, in fact, that me telling you about it is like telling a fish about water for the first time. They aren’t aware of “water” like we are. It isn’t a substance or a separate thing from them. They live in it and are completely unaware of it at the same time.
A lot of people have written books, blog posts, and training manuals discussing leverage and its importance to businesses. Yet most people only ever understand the 101 level of using leverage to build and grow a profitable business.
There’s a much deeper usage of leverage that no one ever talks about. I’ll tell you what it is and you can decide if you’d like to learn more about how you can put it to work for you.
Actually, I knew about some powerful types of leverage before I met Gina Gaudio-Graves, and then I learned about the awesome power of the way she teaches and applies deep leverage at Directions University.
If you think leverage is the one-dimensional joint venture (you mail for me, I’ll mail for you) then you’ve missed the point. And you haven’t even begun to explore the possibilities of true leverage.
Here are some key points to ponder when thinking about Deep Leverage:
We all read success stories of people who use social media, content marketing, and joint ventures to drive targeted traffic to their funnels and close tons and tons of sales.
For every one success story like that, there are tens of thousands of people who are left scratching their heads after trying what they thought was the same thing for their businesses.
And most people are just not built to make the same sacrifices that others are making for their businesses.
What no one has told you yet is that content marketing, social media branding and marketing, list building, and joint venture marketing are hard, HARD things to do. No matter how good you are at them, they take a massive amount of work, planning, and attention to detail that most people aren’t capable of or willing to apply.
Awards and accolades are given out to people who spend huge chunks of their lives working so hard that their marriages fail and relationships with their kids disintegrate. We give trophies to people who destroy their lives in the name of hard work and sacrifice.
Great success in business, and nothing else to show for it. No family to spend the money on. Starting completely over in life, if they can get past the depression and suicidal thoughts. Very, very sad.
They like an equal measure of lifestyle and work so that they can enjoy their lives and not postpone them for one minute while building a successful, profitable business.
Hard entrepreneurs scoff at this notion and try to make softpreneurs feel lazy. Hardpreneurs believe the BS touted by evangelists for the Hard Work Religion. “No pain no gain.” “Sacrifice is noble.”
They are the – “You can watch home movies and look through pictures of your kids growing up after you’ve built your empire” – kind of crazy.
We put them on pedestals and read their books about how hard they worked to get where they are and we admire it. Until we realize that we don’t want anything in life as bad as we want to live life to the fullest. And that cannot happen by following the “all work, no play” dogma that has become an all-out epidemic in society today.
Mention such sentiments in the wrong crowd and people will call you lazy, unrealistic (one of my favorites), or spoiled.
There’s a new and growing movement that praises balance in life and business. That places equal measures of importance on life, experiences, relationships, and a business that supports the pursuit of happiness rather than slaving away for years just to take a victory lap around the Betty Ford clinic afterwards.
What a “lifestyle business” requires in order to have a fulfilling life along with a growing, supporting business is deep leverage. It’s funny, we all understand that using a car instead of horse and buggy saves us time. We’re using leverage in all kinds of ways to great benefit.
But for some reason when it comes to business, we often are blind to the technology and know-how that can give us what we want without over-working ourselves.
Every problem in life and business can be tackled with leverage in mind, first and foremost.
Here’s a great example of what deep leverage is all about…
When people start their businesses, they categorize themselves as either B2C (Business to Consumer) or B2B (Business to Business) based on what they sell or the service they provide. Proceeding under one of those two models, business owners then begin to marketing to business owners or consumers directly.
B2C businesses will begin a marketing campaign to reach out to their prospective buyers through the usual channels: their website, search, social media, lists, and things like interviews and other publicity.
In short, almost every B2C turns and faces the vast depths of the internet and tries to capture the attention of their audience directly. I see this as standing smack in the path of an oncoming F5 tornado and planning to pick my customers out of its gale force winds with my own hands. It’s not impossible, many businesses have done it, but most businesses fail at it.
Deep leverage goes an entirely different route.
It guarantees success and completely foregoes all the massive effort, sleepless nights, and dependence upon sheer luck to meet your goals.
Instead of looking directly to your consumer base to draw customers to your business (doing social media campaigns, creating endless amounts of content and pretending to say something new) you look at all the people in your market who already do all that stuff. The people who worship on the altar of insane work ethic or those who truly enjoy a 12 hour day of hard marketing to attract their customers. Their customers…who would also be ideal customers for your product or service.
When we use deep leverage, we craft a different marketing message for a totally different audience. A good chunk of our marketing faces other business owners who need help increasing their bottom line, who have no backend to speak of, and who need our help to get more out of their customers than what they alone are able to sell them.
We find businesses who already sell to our market really well, and we serve them by increasing their conversions, revenue, and residual earning potential by giving trials of our products away to their buyers. In short, a big portion of our audience is fresh buyers of similar or complimentary products to our own.
That’s where we play. Any hard marketing on social, email, or content marketing is something we do for fun. And that we don’t rely completely on for leads and sales.
This is how you can go to the beach and have a business that is making sales while you bathe in the sun. It is the only way it happens reliably. It is also the only way your business can actually GROW, not just maintain, while you’re on a vacation. Think of that for a moment. It’s real.
It takes a little training to work out the details of how this approach would work with your business, but if you understand the power of the example above, you should be pretty buzzed right now. The idea of going straight to other peoples buyers and grabbing sales, without mass marketing and all the trappings of discontent that come with it, should have you sitting straight up in your seat.
To learn more about how deep leverage works in dozens of different, powerful ways, check out Motivation to Profit at Directions University. Its the only place on or off the web you can learn more about it.
Just read a great idea today by +Chris Brogan today.
In “Seth Godin Said It Already,” he talks about the complaint that some people love to make about our ideas sounding similar what someone before us said. I call it the disease of keeping track of who-said-what-first.
It is a a tactic that un-smart people use to sound relevant and intelligent in a conversation that’s otherwise over their heads. The tactic is used in maybe 5% of all comments on anything of note on the web.
Nothing intelligent to contribute to a conversation? Just tell the author their ideas sound like they were copied from someone else. THAT will make you sound smart and win you new friends, right?
Chris has a line in this post that I just can’t get out of my head. It redirects the archivists and record-keepers of “who said what first” to the real point in all of “this” we’re doing (you know, human history, writing, thinking, social media, blogging, keeping track):
“We are finding each other. Through all this mess, we are finding each other. We are building this all together. We are crafting themes about our world that matter to us and we’re creating in and around each other.”
Chris has offered us all an eloquent reason for why we chew on ideas after they’ve been offered by someone before us. If we aren’t allowed to talk about and pass on really good information and ideas (because they are deep, important, and worth getting out to more people) then we don’t have much else to say or do anymore. Plus, people like Seth Godin get their cues and ideas from other people before them as well.
It is really, seriously difficult to figure out who said what first. Even more difficult to determine why that matters so much to some people. This is a world-class way of missing the point, every time.
When we pick on people who are expanding, growing, and building on top of foundational ideas, we’re holding down humanity. If idea people and creators ever begin to feel like they cannot or should not say or write about anything that comes close to the ideas of those before them, we’re pretty much done here. Like, done with human evolution, done here.
For all you bloggers, idea people, and writers who inspire your readers to act, thrive, succeed and create: don’t let the wet blankets of humanity force you to stop exploring ideas started by others. Contrary to what some might assume, not everyone has heard all of Seth Godin’s or Chris Brogan’s stuff. Repeating and adding to great ideas and information is how this whole thing works. This is how ideas spread.
Keep up the good work everyone! (Wonder who said that first?)
People have made it clear, and not usually directly, that the title of my marketing philosophy and my book “Bending The Web” is somewhat vague.
What does “Bending the Web” mean?
Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
-The Matrix, 1999
After many years of being “in the Matrix” that is the Internet, following rules that people completely made up out of vapor, I suddenly came to the realization that the “rules” were as bendable as the spoon. They were nothing. Putty. Vapor. And I realized there was an entirely different way to view and operate on the web.
For instance, there actually are no real rules for SEO. No real rules for building a popular website and presence on the web. I learned this by thinking about the Internet as a construct of rules we’ve all been taught, yet that don’t actually apply if you step out of the artificial environment we’ve created and work from the outside.
This is a brain-bender in many ways. “How can you be ON the web and work it as if you’re outside and unhindered by the rules that make it work in the first place?”
I’m not Morpheus, and I don’t have a hover ship that exists on the “outside.” Though I do have a Jeep Commander that I sometimes pretend is being pursued by Sentinels when I go to the drug store or a restaurant.
What I have is an awareness that the web can be easily viewed “from the outside” like a child views his ant colony; with all the ants working and living day-in and day-out, completely ignorant of the fact that their world is not the whole world they believe it to be. That they are being observed in a controlled, artificial world from a far larger world.
The rules in the ant colony are in place because of the space they are restricted to and their need to survive. They are not the rules that would be in place if they were wild ants living in the much bigger “real” world.
Rules of Internet Marketing That Can Be Bent
The real truth is, there are no rules. You don’t have to do anything, on anyone else’s agenda, or by the vapor rules above to succeed online. There are “glitches” all over the web that disprove every one of the conventional and accepted rules above.
You can move very quickly, in fact, from obscurity to having a solid and growing presence online. There are many examples of web-benders who came on the Internet and ignored all the rules above, and many more, and simply said “No” to the fake rules and conventional wisdom being shot at them.
Think of the “rule” that you have to have a website on your own domain and hosting before you’ll ever succeed.
Then explain to yourself how people become successful when all they have is social accounts and a YouTube channel. You have seen it happen with your own eyes, and gone right back to your daily grind as if you didn’t REALLY see the Matrix “glitch” right in front of you. Almost everyone has. Until they are pulled out of the Matrix to see the web for what it really is. No spoon.
Or the “rule” that you have to have a beautiful website matching the look, feel, and quality of a $100,000 website in order for visitors to respond to you and take you seriously.
Then explain to yourself how people with ugly sites that don’t even work very well can be successful online. We’ve all seen these examples. And most of us simply see the glitch, and put our heads back down like zombies going back to working within the rules, within the Matrix.
Coincidence. Weirdness. Anomaly. (All Excuses to Stay Blind.)
Most people have no vocabulary to explain the thousands of anomalies in the Matrix. And their minds are like the minds of the ants in an enclosed, very small desktop ant colony. Inside a toy a mere millimeters wide, encased in glass, the ants wouldn’t “see” the real world even if you showed it to them. No more than fish would understand water if you tried to show them what they’ve been living in all their lives. Their brains would make up something to explain away what they were seeing and they’d get back to work being fishes and ants as if it never happened.
Very few people, relative to the vast numbers trying to start and grow businesses online, ever wake up and see all that’s really around them. What’s available to them beyond the ant farm they’ve been living in.
Some people wake up and wonder why they shouldn’t just walk right up to the biggest players in their market and begin working with them right away, so that they can stand on their big stage, in front of that “big dog’s” audience.
Some people bend the rules or completely break them by simply stopping, realizing this can’t be all there is to the Internet, and asking questions. Looking at things completely differently than the conventional web-marketing wisdom goes: that we should operate within norms and conduct ourselves according to far narrower rules and habits than the space that the web actually takes up.
In the early days, people would write about the Internet as the “Wild West” and romanticize it being the “Great Equalizer” where “Anything Goes.”
Headline: “Small one-man shop can compete toe to toe with the biggest companies in the world, and even win!”
But what have we actually created on the web if not an almost mirror-image of our real world of walls, enclosures, and glass ceilings? Things we cannot do and places we cannot go?
We’ve infected the web with all that plagues us in business in the real world.
The “Wild West” didn’t go away. Anything does, actually, really go! But we’ve placed ourselves in glass-walled prisons without using any physical matter at all. We’ve made prisons of our minds, represented in 1’s and 0’s. Vapor prisons.
There is no spoon.
There is nothing holding you back from paying attention to the “glitches” and deciding for yourself you will never look at the business on the web in the same way, ever again.
The anomalies (people seeming coming out of nowhere to build highly successful websites, product lines, and authority) are what you pay the most attention to now. Then you adapt, change, and mold what you learn to suit the rapid, efficient growth of your business.
The tools and training created for web marketers, for the most part, are created within the Matrix.
Therefore most tools, software, and training are not correct. They are broken and incomplete things created from within a broken and incomplete fabrication of the real web. They are made by people who don’t know the spoon is not real. How could training and resources created inside the Matrix ever help you to succeed in bending the web to your will? They will not. They only serve to keep you trapped within false confines.
There Is No Book.
Bending the Web isn’t a book. It’s not a product. It’s a philosophy… a mindset. It is the realization that none of the rules apply on the web aside from electricity, IP addresses, and domains. Everything else can be bent and used to your benefit to speed up the process of success exponentially.
Are you saying that I can dodge the pitfalls and barriers to success that are thrown in my way?
No, I’m saying that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.
Come hang out with all of the people I’ve managed to pull out of the Matrix so far in our Google+ community. We’re floating blocks and bending spoons with our minds. And we’re working together, outside the Matrix, to do what those inside the Matrix think is impossible: Building businesses and achieving financial and personal success quickly.